Fans Behaving Badly

Fans have the right to be disappointed with UCF, as the Knights have fallen well short of everyone's expectations, including their own. The behavior amongst fans has been somewhat concerning though over the past two weeks.

I will begin by saying I understand the frustration that a lot of UCF fans feel, as the season has been disappointing for everyone involved. I will also state that I feel everyone has a right to their opinion and the right to express that opinion. On top of that, I know that not every UCF fan has been acting is a disgraceful manner, but I find it impossible to ignore the large quantity of the ones who have.

The first display of vulgar behavior occurred early in the season during the USF game. Yes it is a rivalry game and I love that fans get up for it, but making death threats to Matt Grothe and his family and also having to be restrained from attacking officials after the game is a disgrace. Harassing an official for a bad call or even taking a little shot at a player is tolerable in my opinion, but to make either one feel like they are in danger is totally unacceptable. The officiating was awful that game, but it did not warrant a near uprising.

Fans at Bright House Networks Stadium have calmed down since that game but some of the actions I have witnessed have been extremely disappointing.

Two weeks ago when UCF hosted ECU, fans in the student section embarrassed themselves in front of a national audience by throwing water bottles onto the field. I get it; you are at the game to have a fun time and the on field product is warranting much to cheer about, but throwing bottles on the field? I'm sorry but that is classless.

This weekend against Southern Miss, I noticed fans starting to take their frustration out on UCF players. Rob Calabrese was being hassled by fan above UCF's bench, as he continuously screamed at the freshman quarterback , telling him to go back home to New York. Later when Michael Greco got in the game, fans booed him, even though in three attempts, he had a pass that was dropped, a completion, and a ball he had to throw away. Attacking college athletes, especially making personal remarks, is out of line in any circumstance. They are not professionals, it's not their job.

Even the fire George O'Leary comments I am fine with, he is a pro, he can handle it and he probably doesn't care what fans think. But for the love of bandwagon jumping, I was hearing fans say "I hope we lock O'Leary up before a big school scoops him away" just a couple of years ago. Nothing like showing loyalty to the guy who made the program something.

Hell, even fans are starting to attack Keith Tirbble, UCF's Athletic Director. Is it Tribble's fault that players are dropping passes? Absolutely not, yet a fan leaving the game last night found it necessary to verbally attack Tribble. However, Tribble handled the situation to perfection, as he went over to the heckler and resolved the matter as the angry fan ended the conversation by shaking Tribble's hand. What did UCF's A.D. say? Probably something amongst the lines of "this is not the time to turn your back on your team, we need our fans to show support now more than ever." Of course, that is pure speculation on my part, but whatever it was, it made the fan see the light. Now is only Tribble could go up to every disgruntled fan…

Again, I am not saying that fans don't have the right to be aggravated or the right to boo the team. I wouldn't personally, but I see where a lot of you are coming from. That being said, this is a time when the players and the team in general needs its fans to get behind them and some of the embarrassing displays I have seen are very disappointing. There is only one home game left on the schedule UCF fans. This is your chance to show that you are great fans, that you will always be behind your team and that UCF has the best student section in the state.


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